PORTLAND, Texas — It's a phone call Jacquelyn Guerrero will never forget.
The medical assistant at WellMed in Portland was doing a routine check-in on a regular patient, but she quickly noticed something wasn't right on the other end of the line.
“He wasn’t able to talk," Guerrero said. "And this is a patient who, when he comes in, he’s very verbal, talking, active. So it was very not like him."
It wasn't clear immediately what was wrong with the man, but Guerrero knew he was in some kind of medical distress. So, to keep him conscious, she continued to talk to the man while a coworker arranged for a medical team to go to his home.
Guerrero hung up only after speaking with those medical workers who were tending to the patient — an hour later.
"That was a big relief — huge relief," she said. "I was so happy that they were finally getting there, because, like I said, I knew that he was in distress. I knew that he needed help, and he needed it immediately.”
She couldn't have been more correct.
The man was suffering from a stroke, and a physician assistant Guerrero works with said time is of the essence when you're dealing with that medical condition.
"The longer waiting you have before treatment — if it is a stroke — the more detrimental symptoms and side effects can be afterwards,” P.A. Amanda Gonzalez said.
There's an acronym to help you remember the signs of stroke — B.E. F.A.S.T.
"B" is for balance — feeling off-balance or having an usual lack of coordination.
"E" is for eyesight — blurred vision or other changes in sight.
"F" is for facial drooping.
"A" is for arm — one arm (or leg) weaker than the other.
"S" is for speech — slurred, mumbled, stuttered, or an inability to speak.
"T" is for time — if you see any of these symptoms — it's time to call 911.
The man Guerrero helped over the phone survived his stroke. He's now recovering at a Houston hospital, and she couldn't be happier to have played an important role in his care.
“It’s amazing," Guerrero said. "I’m glad that, you know, it didn’t - it didn’t turn out bad. I’m glad that he’s still, you know, he’s still alive. He’s making it and slowly in the works of getting better."